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5 Tips About How to Spot Quality Enamel Pins and Avoid Buyers Remorse

How to Spot Quality Enamel Pins and Avoid Buyers Remorse

My pin game is on point. Pun fucking intended.  

The pins I choose to put on my body to express myself are deeply personal. I won’t wear it unless I can back it up. 

I’m a proud pinhead so when I purchase a pin and it’s a fail, it’s a HUGE letdown. 

I believe pins are a great way to communicate without saying a word. They’re small, yet mighty.

Oh and pins have the best history, too. They’ve got a reputation of being a symbol of dissent, self expression for the oppressed and opposed members of society.   

As a pin creator, I absolutely feel a responsibility to uphold the intent of enamel pins. Freedom of speech and self expression are fundamentals in our society. I believe pins are a great way to communicate without even saying a word. 

So before you click a 'buy now' button, here are a few things I suggest to look for to make sure you're getting the best quality of pin for your buck.  

Real talk though...you probably think I’m nuts for writing about this topic because you’re thinking to yourself..Quinn it’s just a $12 pin who cares if it sucks right?

Oh friend, let me tell you a story. 

Back in 2017, I had purchased about 30 pins from a pin shop from Etsy. I won’t name names because I frankly can’t remember the place except that it was based in England.

So the pins purchased were super cute, rainbow bow tie pins intended for our group to wear to formal events. The first time we wore the pins as a group to a fundraiser, we noticed a major manufacturing flaw. After about 20 minutes of wear, the pins rotated looking like an hourglass instead of a bow tie. This was a #fail and brings me to the first tip:

Tip #1 - Check where the securing placements are located. 

The design of a pin is fundamentally super important. Ok so for example, the blow tie....with one, center placement of a fastener it allowed for rotation. So instead of a formal bow tie, the pin rotated into an hourglass. I kick myself because I should have seen this coming, but I assumed that the pin maker thought of this issue before going into production, but apparently not. 

Tip #2 - Research what type of fastener comes with the pin. 

There are two types of pin back fasteners: metal and rubber. 

In my experience, metal fasteners when placed on metal backing allows for pin rotation which can alter the desired placement of the pin. This is also a contributing factor for allowing the pin to change from a bow tie to an hourglass shape.

Pins with two secure placements making sure the design visual stays place during wearing is key.

With the exception of a few of the ‘Take It Up With My Middle Finger’ pins due to manufacturer error, I always order pins with rubber versus metal backings, here’s why:

  • Avoid triggering people with metal allergies.
  • Rubber is super secure and looks better.

My reasoning? Personally, I think pins with rubber backings look more polished. Plus, I have a nickel allergy (ok more like a crap metal allergy) so if I place a metal pin back directly on my skin, I will have a reaction. 

Most manufacturers don’t charge extra for the rubber backings versus the metal pin backings so for me, it was an easy choice. 

Tip #3 - If it looks like crap, it probably is.  

A picture is worth a fuckton of words. Especially when it comes to looking at pins. At first glance, you can tell when a pin looks jacked up. 

Well-designed (and made) pins are like tattoos. Look for clean lines, solid coloring, no visible deformations, chips or cracks. 

No pin is 100% perfect, but it's not too much to ask for quality enamel pins that function and look great since pins are machine-made to specifications.  

Tip #4 - Read between the product description lines. 

You can tell a major quality factor of a pin by looking for the size thickness within the product description. Pins like the ‘Taste the Rainblow’ pin are 1.5 mm which roughly the thickness of a grain of rice. The pins which range between 1.33 mm - 1.5 mm are the perfect size. Not thick enough to catch on items and they’ll have a sturdy weight so they not only look like a sturdy pin, they’ll feel like one too.  

Also, look for which kind of metals the pin is made from. If it says the pin is made with zinc or iron, you’re in a good place as they are durable, look great are the industry standard. 

Copper and brass are also used for making enamel pins. It’s true they are cheaper, but to me, they feel like a cheaper pin. Unless customers ask for the copper or brass specifically, I don’t recommend using them. 

Plus, the manufacturer's cost difference between using zinc or iron versus copper or brass is pennies, but the difference in quality is HUGE in my opinion. 

Tip #5 - Sift Through the Product Review for Info

I would have saved a huge ass ache if I would have read the reviews from the bow tie pin turned hourglass pin. That one’s legit on me...the shame! 

Reviews provide good insight about how the pin will arrive, real shipping times and if the customers genuinely like/wear the pin!

Go a step further, too! If the business has a Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter account - give them a 5 second scroll. You can tell a lot about the business based on content, followers and comments even looking at just one or two posts.

In conclusion, a little research goes a long way to making sure your pin purchase is actually in the quality enamel pins category. There’s nothing worse than spotting the perfect pin to show your personality only to be let down by poorly made pins that miss the mark.  

Are you a pinhead with tips or enjoy this post? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts! 

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About Quinn 

Hi! I’m Quinn, proud lesbian and owner/operator of Queen On The Scene. We proudly make inappropriately awesome pins and gear you’ll only find here. I’m passionate about wearing and creating pins with personality. Proudly 100% LGBT-owned/operated. Based in Sioux Falls, SD. 

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